The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law enacted in 1974 to protect the privacy of student education records.
FERPA designates students as the owners of their educational records. Students have these primary rights under FERPA:
UT Dallas is the custodian of student educational records. It is our responsibility to protect student information, and ensure that it is not disclosed without student signed consent.
It is our responsibility to validate the identity of an individual before disclosing educational records.
When leaving your desk, lock your computer/laptop. Protect your mobile devices accordingly. While working at your desk, position computer screens away from others or use a privacy screen. Put away or flip over paper documents with protected information when someone comes to your desk.
A class roster with student information should not be circulated.
Do not give a student’s schedule to anyone other than the student, and do not help anyone find a student on campus. Contact campus police for assistance at X2222 if you have someone trying to locate one of our students on campus.
Never give out confidential information over the phone or fax. There may be some exceptions to provide information through teleconferences/telephone. See Use of Digital Platform within the Remote Learning section below for further information.
Please use your university provided email, @utdallas.edu, when sending email to the Registrar’s Office, students, or other campus entities.
Never email FERPA-protected information or send attachments with confidential information to a non-UT Dallas email like Gmail, iCloud, or Yahoo, unless you encrypt it. Do not list FERPA-protected information in the email’s Subject line, even if the email is encrypted.
Grades should never be emailed to students. Students need to check their grades in Orion or eLearning.
Grades should not be publicly posted using any portion of SSN or UTD ID or any other personally identifiable information. If you have a circumstance needing other options, please contact the Office of the Registrar at [email protected] (or [email protected]) for assistance.
Graded tests/assignments should not be left in a stack to be sorted and picked up by students.
Graded tests/assignments should not be given to student volunteers to return.
As classroom technologies continue to advance, more instructors are utilizing video and audio recordings of class sessions and student participation. Classroom technologies also include any digital platform(s) to engage in student group discussions and/or one-to-one discussions.
The instructor may use the UT Dallas’ authorized digital platform(s) to engage enrolled students in the class for instruction purposes. The digital platform includes but is not limited to the following: electronic board discussions, electronic group chats, teleconferences, and/or video conferences to conduct student group discussions.
The instructor may engage in one-to-one discussions with the enrolled student(s) through teleconferences (e.g. telephone conferences/conversations) and/or video conferences by adhering to the FERPA UTDSP5010 to determine the student’s appropriate personal identifiable information.
Students must adhere to the Social Media Use outlined in the UT Dallas Syllabus Policies and Procedures in that they cannot impersonate or represent any person other than themselves or be subject to disciplinary actions for violating the Student Code of Conduct.
Depending on the use of these class recordings, they may constitute educational records that are protected under FERPA.
If the recording of a classroom lecture or lab includes only the instructor, then it is not a student record and FERPA does not limit its use.
If the recording of a classroom lecture or lab includes students and it is possible to identify the students, then the student portions are educational records and must adhere to FERPA.
If the instructor leaves UT Dallas, the instructor is still bound by FERPA regarding use of any class recordings and by the terms outlined in this guide.
Class recordings must be stored only on University-approved, password protected devices and systems, such as eLearning.
If you have a circumstance needing other options, please contact the Office of the Registrar at [email protected].
Even though FERPA allows disclosure of directory information without student signed consent, FERPA also provides a way for students to opt out of that exception.
When in doubt, do not give out any information. Contact the Registrar’s Office at [email protected] for clarification.
More information about FERPA Policy can be found on the UT Dallas Policy Navigator.
The U.S. Department of Education website for the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) also offers further reading as well as a full copy of the act.
The U.S. Department’s recent guidance on FERPA & Virtual Learning During COVID-19 (PDF) also offers various scenarios and web links to relevant FERPA sections.